2022 films and stuff

As I noted in November, I didn’t post my 2021 films for some reason and I still don’t remember why but here they are.  Shang-Chi was pretty great.

Did I do anything this year? Did I go anywhere? I feel like I did visit Walsingham but don’t remember anything about it – oh, I remember now. I actually went on holiday to Ipswich and then drove to visit Walsingham on one of the days I was there and that’s why I don’t remember staying in Walsingham.

I also attended one of the London e-prix and had the great idea of staying the night before in a hotel nearby because lol I am not waking up early to get there. That was also about the time I fell on my car and smacked my shin so hard on the doorframe that it got infected and I had the exciting opportunity to “enjoy” two different rounds of antibiotics. It’s still not the right colour, but that’ll get better in time.

I saw Daði Freyr at the Roundhouse, an event that I bought the ticket for over a year in advance thinking “the whole pandemic stuff will be gone by then” and it’s not really but it turns out that I’m one of those people for whom wearing a mask tight against my face for hours isn’t a hardship (even though I wear glasses and now that I’ve got a pair with the arms that curl round my ears rather than being straight, I’m less likely to have them just fall off my face). Sort of related – I’m pondering going to see Måneskin next year but am extremely ambivalent about the O2 Arena AND it’ll be when I have a week off and maybe I will want to go somewhere that week.  We’ll see. Maybe if there are tickets still on sale closer to the time, I’ll decide then.

Anyway, onto the new films I saw in 2022, from least favourite to most favourite as is customary:

  • The Middle Ages -I saw two films set during the pandemic lockdown season and this was the worst. It seemed like an interesting idea at the time I put it on my “to watch” list but it just wasn’t fun.
  • Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – I am, obviously, a big fan of Catholic-adjacent tat and this film is named for that. Felt like it wasn’t finished.
  • Blind Yellow Sunshine – Knowing something about the Rime of the Ancient Mariner improves this, but since I knew nothing while I was watching – at least it was short.
  • Roary – it says something that 6 minutes of the MGM lion just… roaring was better than the first 3 films on this list.
  • The Estate – Unfunny. Which is a shame because the cast were doing their best.
  • Crows Are White – The director/main character’s wife is a literal saint and must super love him to put up with his shenanigans.
  • Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power – Interesting documentary, but weird that the director’s films are irreproachable masterpieces and all other female filmmakers’ work is infected by the male gaze.
  • Inside the Mind of a Cat – I’m not a cat person, but it was interesting to see all the cat people and was a frothy light hour or so of viewing when that was what I needed.
  • Geographies of Solitude – Turns out documentaries about scientists doing research in remote places is a thing I enjoy.  The sporadic bits of film processed on the island with bits of the island added a good contrast of texture.
  • The Blue Rose of Forgetfulness – I liked some of the individual works more than others but thinking about them now I don’t know that I can remember any but Alcestis.
  • God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines – I didn’t know anything about the history of techno music so this was educational. I can recognise the nerding out about synthesizers in musicians I know now.
  • See How They Run – I think maybe this film was trying to capture that Knives Out vibe but just doesn’t manage it because they were reading from the “how to Wes Anderson” instruction manual.
  • Unicorn Wars – Did I see this just because it was teddy bears going to war? Yes.
  • My Robot Brother – I feel like I’m getting closer to the top 10 because I’m starting to get to films that was actually “good” rather than just “I watched them.” Has kind of the feel of those educational TV series we used to watch at school like “Through The Dragon’s Eye” if that had been turned into a film solely for entertainment.
  • Staging Death – 8 minutes of Udo Kier’s death scenes cut together. The highlight is recognising all the ones you’ve already seen.
  • After Sherman – This was another film telling a part of the director’s personal experience and this one has the extreme benefit of not having a deeply frustrating director that sabotages his own life.
  • Jill, Uncredited – Anthony Ing manages to weave a story out of a selection of clips of the thousands of Jill Goldston’s appearances as an extra in film and TV which really illustrates just how many productions she was a part of to make that possible (and there were many appearances that just didn’t make the cut on top of these). Jill was at the screening I saw and it was a delight to hear just how much she loved being part of these films and had the best experiences doing them.
  • The Wonder – Not sure about the framing device, but this was a good watch.
  • Corsage – I discovered that a whole bunch of films was made recently about Empress Elisabeth of Austria and I want to check them out.  It works better if you know a bit more about the real Elisabeth.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder – I did think when I saw this film that it would be higher up the list and yes, it is good and enjoyable (even when you’re familiar with the comics so there’s less surprise). I think it’s a combo of “this film could have been better” and “I saw a number of satisfying films this year.”
  • Living – This was great. I saw Aimee Lou Wood in Uncle Vanya and she was a delight in that and she’s great here too.
  • Into The Ice – This is the other scientists doing research in remote places film I saw and seeing all of the giant holes in the ice was just wild and mindblowing.
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom – Documentary about the New York music scene in the early 2000s and yes I was only there for Interpol, whose first album is the only CD I ever wore out, but it was fascinating to hear about the other bands too. Was weirdly like someone did a time-travel to shoot the early 00s footage, but obviously they just recorded video at the time and it’s wild to think that in 10-20 years there could be something like this built out of band’s insta/tiktok videos.
  • Hidden Letters – I knew some stuff about Nushu already so hearing from some of the women who have kept this language alive was interesting and touching. “Loved” that moment where some man asked how they could make Nushu, a language that had survived in secret for hundreds and hundreds of years, continue to survive without commercialising it in the cheapest possible way and only saw that as an option.
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – I am so glad that loads of people have now seen this because I have been waiting for months, MONTHS, to hear about people’s enjoyment of this film. This takes the thing I love about Columbo and Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple and Poirot (i.e. helping the little guy obtain justice and sticking it to the man) and just SLAPS IT RIGHT DOWN ON SILLY OLD MILES BRON’S FACE. The thing I took away from seeing this in a cinema was that I was surrounded by people who did not know who Yo-Yo Ma is and that was in my top 3 cameos in the film. Re-watching it now that it’s out on Netflix has only improved it because I can spot the things I didn’t spot on the first viewing AND I have the benefit of seeing things that other people who know stuff have picked up on. Knives Out was my 2nd favourite film of 2019 and it’s deeply satisfying that this one was so enjoyable.

Inactivity

I realised about half-way through this year that I didn’t post my films of 2021 but I don’t remember why I didn’t get to it.

Anyway. I’m a sporadic blogger, but I am here.

2020 films and stuff

A lot of things happened in 2020, but mostly they happened to other people because I didn’t leave the house for most of the year.

And like, I don’t really have anything to say here about those things.

Anyway, on to the customary look back at the new films I saw in 2020 from least liked to most liked. I didn’t step foot in a cinema all year1, so I’m not entirely sure how I ended up seeing a good 10-15 more new films than usual – especially since I had a hard time sitting down and watching anything much over an hour long – and somehow I ended up watching like 100 films in total which seems… excessive. In previous years, I’ve said something about each film – that’s not happening today lol.

  • Genus Pan – This and the next film were just SO boring. This is the kind of thing I end up seeing when there’s a global pandemic and the film festival I normally go to moves online removing the logistic obstacles that needing to get a train across town to another cinema puts in my way.
  • Striding Into The Wind
  • Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal – Turns out I don’t enjoy interactive films
  • The Yalta Conference Online – In some ways, doing the Yalta Conference as a Zoom meeting was a good idea. In other ways, it was not.
  • Motorcycle Drive By
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia – Maybe this was overhyped? Maybe I’m just not that into David Byrne’s music?
  • The Light Side
  • Summer Shade
  • 180 Degree Rule
  • I Am Patrick: The Patron Saint of Ireland
  • Possessor – Everything I heard about this one beforehand was like “oooh scary horror, oooh body horror” (I guess because Brandon Cronenberg did it) but like… it’s just a science fiction film. It’s not scary horror.
  • Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes
  • Shadow Country
  • Sound for the Future
  • Identifying Features
  • The Real Right Stuff
  • Mulan – I still don’t get why so many of the animated Disney films get remade as live action (well, I mean, I DO, it’s for the money BUT STILL). This was… same old, same old I guess.
  • Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb
  • My Octopus Teacher
  • The Disciple – This was really good. I feel like a lot of good films seem to be way down the list but it’s just that I saw a lot of new films this year.
  • Wildfire
  • The Old Guard
  • Cicada
  • African Apocalypse
  • Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic – Does an hour-long Netflix comedy special count as a film? Well, I guess. It’s in the films section after all.
  • Jude – This is a film about someone I know and tbh I don’t know whether I can really categorise it in with all the others very well because it’s valuable to me AS a film about this person and it’s not there to be entertainment.
  • One Man and His Shoes
  • The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special
  • Herself
  • The Reason I Jump
  • Time
  • John Was Trying to Contact Aliens
  • Soul – I wanted to go and see Soul as part of LFF but it was one of the in-person-at-the-cinema-only ones, which obviously was ridiculous because of the global pandemic, but then it eventually came to Disney Plus so here we are.
  • Undine – I kind of knew the folklore so I figured I knew what would happen, and then stuff happened and it didn’t seem like that but then you get to the end of the film and you realise that exactly what was supposed to happen did happen.
  • Mogul Mowgli – This was a big m o o d from start to finish.

    “They ever ask you, “Where you from?” Like, “Where you really from?” The question seems simple, but the answer’s kinda long”

  • Stray – I don’t know what I expected when I got a ticket to see a film about stray dogs in Turkey – certainly not a film that’s told at dog-height, but it works and it was great.
  • Wolfwalkers – We all know that the villain has always been Oliver Cromwell. The art in this was fantastic,
  • Enola Holmes – I am here for a whole franchise of this. CHURN THEM OUT. I will watch them. Forever lol at Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes.
  • The Painter and the Thief – This kind of reminds me of the film Dancer, which was about Sergei Polunin, in that clearly they start making the film and don’t really have any idea of where the story will end up and then it ends up being amazing.
  • Never Gonna Snow Again – Funny but also kind of sad.
  • Another Round – Yes, the last like 5-10 minutes are fantastic, but I think they’re only so good because you’ve just watched the whole film before that part and you need to, to kind of get that release.
  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – I LOVE Eurovision and this was great and the best part is how we never actually find out who won that context because that is not the point – much in the same way that with real Eurovision, it’s not really winning that’s the point for me.
  • Rising Phoenix – This was a really good look at a few Paralympic athletes from various backgrounds. I really hope that the Games can go ahead this year if there is a safe-as-possible way to do so, but at the same time WILL it be possible?
  • Uncle Vanya – Ok, yes, this is the filmed version of a play that I did actually go to see in person, in the theatre, about a week before my workplace sent us all to work from home and maybe 10 days before the entire country did her first lockdown. I’m not convinced that all of the changes they made (mostly way the monologues played out, but how would I have it differently???) were all good choices, but when I watched this on TV, I still felt exactly as I had when I’d finished watching in the theatre. Would this play leave me as emotionally wrung out at the end in any other year? Maybe not, but maybe so. The set was even more beautiful in person, and I’m not sure that the film really captures that. Incredible 2020 vibes.

While I didn’t get to go to the cinema last year, I did manage to go to two gigs back in February – Dave Hause at the Union Chapel which was FANTASTIC and Asgeir at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which was also delightful. Bedouin Soundclash was supposed to happen in May, but got pushed back to February 2021 and of course, it’s now been cancelled. I’m not sure that they’ll tour again so I’m glad I saw them when I could. The Star Wars concert that I was supposed to attend in March, was also cancelled, but I guess someone is always going to put on a Star Wars concert at the Royal Albert Hall, so that one will come around again one day.

1.I was going to say “weirdly,” but look, we all know what’s going on this year so it’s not weird at all.

In the plague tiems

Considering the number of places my blog posts syndicate out to, you’d think I’d update a little more than I do. Such is life.

I’ve been catching up on a bunch of unread email newsletters in ye olde inbox and it’s like time-travel in a really nice way. The world when those missives were sent was still not that great a place but at least less of us were suffering and dying thanks to some pandemic and the failures of government.

The Home Screen newsletter (actually a recent edition, rather than one from some time last year) talked about how Adobe doesn’t like Photoshop to be used as a verb and I could only think that they probably wouldn’t be too fond of how I and a few other people say “potato-chopped” instead.

Read an article about people not remembering the 1918 Flu Pandemic and realising I had no idea that people don’t know about it? I guess a lot of people don’t study that period of history, and if they do learn about the First World War, they don’t learn about how there was this big double whammy of awful at the time. Plus, I guess, people who were alive then and are still alive now would have been tiny babies and there really aren’t that many of them left. And who hangs out with the elderly?

I mean, ok. I do and yeah, I knew a lady whose Dad survived WWI only to get it from flu when he came home – her mum used to drag her along to his grave on birthdays and Christmas and she hated it.

And I was thinking about it the other day, in the sense of “well how did we survive that?” but the thing is – millions and millions of us just didn’t. It’s that the way death works is that when you’re dead you’re not going to come back and chat about how you were sick and it was awful.

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K

Or actually, not really. Just some minor griping about some stuff going on with the local church.

The priest at my church has had to go away for some sort of personal reasons, but the really interesting thing is how he and other priests belonging to their particular group keep going about a bunch of things – like they’re laying the groundwork for their own inability to remain as parish priests at my church.

The first thing seems to be kind of an obsession with the devil – how they can sense something at the church. What it really sound like, is a preoccupation with satan coupled with the new experience of living in a very quiet area, in a house that creaks like a normal house of its age, having previously only lived in busy cities and/or in community.

Then they’re convinced there is a witch down the road up to no good against them and the church.

And then… going on and on about how various parish priests have come to the church, gotten sick and then died. Which might work when told to some people, but doesn’t work when told to people who have known our parish priests very well over the years. The priests who were sick all arrived with existing health problems (and they conveniently neglect to remember a recent priest who is very much alive, appears hale and healthy but the rest of us know he has had lung problems for a long time) or just got old, and the normal things that come with old age occurred (also forgetting the priest who baptised me at our church who is now both extremely old but also, still alive lol).

Like, guys, the thing that there is in common about the priests who seem to have problems with satan at church are that you belong to this one group and like, you don’t seem to have enough faith or trust in God that He will take care of you which is like a big problem when you are a priest.

And don’t get me started on how saving money is apparently more important than saving souls.

Saturday the 14th

It’s not quite time for my end of year film list (since I have at least one new film left to watch this year) but there have been things I’ve been thinking about writing down for probably a month now and just haven’t so here are some of those things.

  • I read an article about morning routine stories and how the right kind of morning routine is supposed to be able to make you more productive and how recently they’ve kind of morphed into a kind of self-care space and then went on to talk other ideas developing on from that. My weekday morning routine is to wake at 7am, visit the bathroom, fill my water bottle, put out my cereal bar and make a cup of tea that I then take upstairs and put on the bedside table. Then I get right on back into bed and go to sleep until the radio turns on at 7.30am and I find that past-me has kindly made now-me a cup of tea.
    And then like, get ready for work, leave the house, blah blah blah.
  • Still haven’t gotten the crib down from on top of the wardrobe to set it up downstairs for Christmas. Feels like it will be a lot of effort, although it will be the same amount of effort that it is every year and it’s just me that changes. The last couple of months have been kind of vague-feeling and I’ve been studiously ignoring it and buying tickets for things to look forward to instead. One week left until the days start getting longer again, maybe that will help too.
  • The election. Ugh. That’s not helped. I don’t get how people can throw the poor, sick, vulnerable, marginalised etc under the bus and for what? The people I know who’ve voted Conservative are certainly not going to profit from it and just, ugh. So many things. Briefly looked into whether emigrating to Germany or the Netherlands was possible. Considered moving to Scotland. Thought about the religious life again (although that’s a thing I think about on and off and just haven’t ruled out). And being right about what the new government will do doesn’t even have the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so” because it will be a tragedy. I suppose a Conservative vote is a selfish vote but how does being selfish uplift society? If we don’t help everyone up, even a little bit, then how can we progress and make great new discoveries? I guess I watch too much Star Trek.
  • I basically need a TV channel that is Agatha Christie all the time. All the Marples. David Suchet’s Poirot. Tommy and Tuppence. Just that and nothing else.
  • I’d probably take a bird table livestream too.
  • If the psychiatric hospitals hadn’t been shut down  20-odd years ago, would the mental health of the nation be better now? I don’t know the answer to that, but the resource would be there at least.
  • Of course, I can’t remember most of the things I was thinking about writing down for the last month.

Sleeves

Today I’m wearing a dress that my Mum made for me a few years ago. She made two dresses at the time but it’s only occurred to me now, that that’s when she really understood the trouble I have with getting shirts and dresses that fit properly across my shoulders and allow me to still move my arms.

The dresses don’t have sleeves because she had such trouble having to alter them away from their original patterns to make them fit that she decided to cut her losses. LOL.

Something broken about this

Yeah, I used the Hozier fanfic title generator for this post, what of it.

Anyway, overdoing it with online gaming coupled with a busy period at work has done a number on my RSI, so obviously here I am writing about it, using the very instrument of my downfall. It’s kind of a pain because (other than the obvious actual physical pain etc) I want to support what’s left of my alliance even though we’re kind of a bit scuppered by everyone getting kind of burnt out and there not being anyone who really wants to lead ops. Probably doesn’t help that when you do try to do some leader-stuff, no one really follows instructions.

So, no gaming. Watching stuff or reading stuff only. Got an appointment with the doctor, who’s probably just going to tell me the same as before. Wondering if I need to do something to make the muscles in my forearms stronger and then maybe this would happen less?

It’s kind of a downer since I socialise a lot online and this makes it difficult. The discomfort in my arms is kind of a downer on its own.

Maybe I should get arm-warmers.

Hoarding

What’s Causing the Rise of Hoarding Disorder?

Even if they want to downsize (which is rare), there’s the overwhelming difficulty of sorting through the mess. People with severe hoarding disorder tend to be easily distracted and have a hard time focusing and concentrating. Paradoxically, they also tend to be perfectionists, so they’ll put off making decisions rather than risk being wrong. And when it comes to their own stuff, they don’t categorize by type. Rather than see an object as a member of a large group (say, one of 42 black T-shirts), they see it as singular, unique, special. Each black T-shirt is perceived apart from the others and carries its own history, significance, and worth. It’s not even categorized for storage (folded with other black T-shirts in a T-shirt drawer), but rather placed on a pile and retrieved spatially (that particular black T-shirt lives about four inches from the bottom of the corner stack). This leads to a deep aversion to someone touching the piles or sifting through them, unwittingly destroying the invisible ordering system.

It me.

Well, I’m somewhere between untidy and hoarder because when I do actually tidy, there’s a lot less “stuff” but yeah, that’s basically my filing system. Whenever a well-intentioned person attempts to tidy for me, without my knowledge, I always end up losing stuff and… having to buy replacements because I can’t find the thing – which I feel is the opposite of what the ideal outcome would be. :/

So far some of the things lost when tidied include: a boxed copy of Evil Genius (which I’ve just re-bought in the Steam sale as a download), a mobile phone and most recently the cable to connect my camera to my laptop (and also to charge my Mum’s Kobo – so yeah I’ve had to re-buy that one).

And there’s no way of knowing if the lost things are just…here somewhere or if they’ve accidentally gone in the bin.

The 42 black t-shirts is also me. However,  I have a “black t-shirt shelf” to go with my “not-black t-shirt” shelf.

Tuesday

I am languishing in my sickbed, riddled with plague and reading about all this Tumblr stuff.

Maybe not plague. A cold.

I know that the ringing in my ears is louder when I’m sick, but it’s coupled with the sound of the water moving through the radiators and hot water pipes – a similar sound to the one I hear in my ears – which makes it all worse somehow. No amount of earplug-wearing will help when it’s a noise already in my head.

Coincidentally, I’m also reading about how places like restaurants are really loud. I’m constantly thinking about how loud places are and how it seems like everywhere has gotten louder but can’t really decided whether they really have become louder or I just notice more now that I try to avoid loud noises. Probably both.

Restaurants are so loud because architects don’t design them to be quiet. Much of this shift in design boils down to changing conceptions of what makes a space seem upscale or luxurious, as well as evolving trends in food service. Right now, high-end surfaces connote luxury, such as the slate and wood of restaurants including The Osprey in Brooklyn or Atomix in Manhattan.

This trend is not limited to New York. According to Architectural Digest, mid-century modern and minimalism are both here to stay. That means sparse, modern decor; high, exposed ceilings; and almost no soft goods, such as curtains, upholstery, or carpets. These design features are a feast for the eyes, but a nightmare for the ears. No soft goods and tall ceilings mean nothing is absorbing sound energy, and a room full of hard surfaces serves as a big sonic mirror, reflecting sound around the room.The result is a loud space that renders speech unintelligible. Now that it’s so commonplace, the din of a loud restaurant is unavoidable. That’s bad for your health—and worse for the staff who works there. But it also degrades the thing that eating out is meant to culture: a shared social experience that rejuvenates, rather than harms, its participants.
And the Underground is SO loud. I mostly travel on the Northern line when I use the tube and the TRAINS are SO LOUD. If you want to talk to someone, you’d have to shout (on the other hand what are you doing, breaking the unwritten rule of not speaking on the tube). I always wonder about how loud people must have the volume for whatever they are listening to on their headphones. I think about how that kind of volume from headphones on my own ears would probably be worse for my tinnitus than the sound of the trains the music would be drowning out. At least I can wear earplugs on the train.